Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen? Mr Clarkson lives in Dubai at the United Arab Emirates. He has a 8 hour job that does allows him to hire a chef, own an expensive big engine car and own a luxurious house with a fish tank that runs off electricity. Mr Clarkson is rarely at home but his cook ensures that there is food in the house and his watch guards light and patrol his compound to keep off thieves and trespassers. Even though Mr Clarkson seldom uses his house, a lot of resources are used to run his home. Mr Clarkson is only one of the many individuals who lead a lavish lifestyle in the UAE region of the world .The UAE produces an astounding 3.4 to 3.8 kilograms of waste per day. This is one of the highest production rates anywhere in the world. What makes it worse is that 52% of this waste is food leftovers (Uae, 2009). The world has limited resources and mankind must find a way to utilize these resources efficiently. Recycling is proving to be an adequate means of sustaining the scarce resources in the world. Recycling is the act of changing an item from a waste material to a beneficial one. The aim of the process is to increase the efficiency of energy using, utilize resources and make good use of space. In the long run, it saves energy, reduces the level of pollution, conserves the environment and leads to increase in income and savings. Let us look at how recycling can be beneficial in improving the efficiency of how we use the worlds resources today.
Recycling is essential to reduce the amount of waste materials produced by human beings. Before I move on, what is recycling? Many scholars have a described this process using different terms but it narrows to just one definition. It is a process by which waste is converted into reusable form (Hubbe, 2014). People use various items on a day to day basis and dispose the remains of these items to the environment. The major pollutants that have been identified include glass, aluminium, plastics cardboards and paper (Kim & Song, 2014). The remains of these items can be recycled into raw materials for new products instead of using more new resources that increase the trash levels in the environment. It is important that we are aware that the amount of waste people leave behind is too much. In fact, it is estimated that the trash produced in 8 months is enough to fill the largest lake in Britain (Kim & Song, 2014). Alternative solutions have been found to reduce that rate at which the environment is polluted by these waste materials, and recycling is at the top of the list.
First, in order to produce paper and cardboards we use trees, which are responsible for cooling the environment by acting as carbon-sinks (Cha et al, 2013). When trees are cut to produce paper, the amount of green -house gases increase in the environment and eventually this leads to global-warming. The process of cutting trees, removing barks; processing logs into lumps in order to make paper and cardboard use a lot of energy. Most of the energy used to operate the machines that do this work relies on fossil fuel like diesel and petrol that increase the amount of green-house gases responsible for global warming (Cha et al, 2013). Remember, as these machines emit green-house gases, the trees responsible for reducing them are being cut down.
Because paper is product that is dumped daily, people can opt to dispose the extras they receive to enable recycling. 1 ton of recycled paper can save up to 17 trees, 360 gallons of water an 60 pounds of air-pollutants (Green, 2009). In this scenario, recycling helps to conserve the environment while producing paper, a necessary product used by people on a daily basis.
Recycling also goes a long way to preserve the soil that nurtures the earth. When trees are cut down, the soil structure is disrupted and soil erosion occurs. Eroded soils carry top soil away. Top soil is essential in the growing of crops that nourishes man and animals. Preserving the soil is very important because it preserves life on earth (Jackson, 1981). The waste material produced today especially paper also uses a lot of soil. Many countries in the world use newspapers to keep with current affairs. Newspapers are products that are produced every day and they use a lot of resources and energy in their production. Clay soil is also used in production of newspaper and it is mined every day to provide enough raw material (Green, 2009) if the materials from old newspapers can be recycled, the worlds trees and soils would be safer.
Recycling also helps to reduce the waste material that is dumped in marine and lake waters. Most of the waste products coming from people are poisonous to aquatic life. Constant dumping of the pollutants will greatly affect the marine life. Materials that cannot easily decompose such as plastic and glass enter water bodies and disrupt the environment and ecosystem in the body. The contamination comes from leakage of piles of trash from people living in the mainland (Kane, 2010). If this trash is recycled it goes a long way to reduce the amount of garbage in sea life.
Recycling is also a great energy saving measure. A lot of energy is required to manufacture glass. Glass is important component to people because it is used to make a variety of products. These products help to make the life of man easier. While glass is a good product, it is also non-biodegradable and a major pollutant in the environment. Glass is also very dangerous to people and animals as it can cause very serious injuries. Recycling of glass reduces its pollution in the environment but it also maintains its availability to man. The better news is that recycling glass goes a long way to help saving the energy that is used in producing it. For example, 1 recycled glass bottle can save enough energy to run a computer for 25 minutes (Facts, 2008).
Aside from saving energy, glass can also be recycled over and over again without diminishing in quality or quantity. This ensures that that the amount of glass in the environment is maintained. Recycling glass preserves energy that can be directed to other uses that are just as essential as glass. For example, 1 recycled plastic bottle would save enough power for a 60 watt bulb for 3 hours. If more glass is recycled, then power from geothermal, nuclear and hydro-electric power plants can be used more efficiently (Cha et al, 2013).
Recycling of plastic is also important. Plastics form the largest part of solid waste. They are also non-biodegradable. Plastic manufacturing also competes for resources such as fossil fuel which is very scarce an in high demand today. Plastic materials are made largely from fossil fuel and this means they put pressure on this scarce resource (Times, 2007). According to UAEs Ministry of environment and water, the country produces an average of 11 billion plastic bags. This eventually contributes to the massive pile up of annual overall waste of 912.5 kilograms per Capita 2, 3 and 4 (Plasticmanagement in UAE, 2016). This leads to a lot of energy wastage and the only remedy to that is recycling. If plastic can be recycled, the pressure on fossil fuel will be reduced, the solid waste would also reduce and overall the resources will last longer because they are being used more efficiently (Time for change, 2007).
The bottom line is, when humans manufacture new plastic, metal or glass materials from scratch, they use more energy to extract and process the raw materials for creating these products. This therefore leads to wastage of energy that could have been used effectively elsewhere. Take aluminium cans for example. When humans recycle aluminium cans, we save upto 95% of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminium from the original raw material bauxite (Martin, 2008). In addition to that, by recycling one ton of aluminium cans a company can save upto 207 Million Btu. This is equivalent to 36 barrels of oil and in other cases this can be equated to 1,665 gallons of gasoline (Martin, 2008).
Recycling saves on money and increases income. This in turn increases profit margins significantly. Research has proven that companies that recycle their products instead of manufacturing new ones stand a better chance of surviving an economic meltdown than those that do not (Martin, 2008). This has seen companies that are dedicated to recycling of their products such as bottles, cans and cardboards increase their profit margins over the years. For example, the Coca Cola Company is a very good case study in this case. They recycle 95% of the glass bottles manufactured by the company. In addition to that, they also recycle 65% and 75% of plastics and cans they produce respectively. This makes sure that they cut on cost of production of thee containers by 80% (Martin, 2008). The funds saved through recycling are eventually used for other purposes beneficial to the company e.g. expansion or even offering scholarships as a way of returning back to the community.
Recycling services are cheaper than trash-disposal services ("Facts," 2008).Products manufactured from raw materials cost a lot more than the ones made from recycled materials; 16% of the money you spend on a product pays for the packaging, which ultimately ends up as rubbish ("Facts," 2008).This fact has been proven in most countries around the world. For example in most states in the USA most of the companies pay between $40-50 per ton of recyclable materials collected by most of the dealers in that sector. On the other hand the countries in the US pay more money ranging from $80-100 per ton of wastes that are dumped into the landfills (Martin, 2008). From the statement above it is evident that recycling is cheaper than trash disposal. In addition to that, trash-disposal also proves to be expensive as it renders big chunks of land inhabitable. For example more than 80% of the world cities have set aside more than 100 hectares of land that are to be used as landfills for waste materials (Kim & Song, 2014). This costs the various governments a lot of money to acquire these landfills and also maintaining them.
Recycling also plays a significant role in climate change mitigation. Global warming is a menace to our survival and it affects other geological and meteorological factors today. According to a report released by the British Government, deforestation and emissions from the waste landfills account for more than 25% of the total greenhouse emissions every year (Martin, 2008). The landfills created around the world produce more than double the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the world aviation sector. This eventually leads to emission of methane from the accumulation of trashes causes potential global warming and acid rains (Green, 2009). Recycling as a process helps in controlling this phenomenon in very many ways. On the first account, recycling reduces the rate of deforestation. This in turn controls the levels of CO2 in the environment reducing global warming rates (Hubbe, 2014).In addition to that, recycling reduces the rate of emission of methane from landfills; this in turn reduces the levels of the gas in the atmosphere thus reducing air pollution and acidic rain (Hubbe, 2014).
Recycling process helps in capturing the embodied energy that recycled products have. This helps in conservation of energy that would have been wasted in production of new products. For example, recycled glass uses only about 21% of the total energy used in production of the product from its raw material and on the other hand plastic bottles use 76% less energy in recycling than in actual production from the raw material (Plastic management in UAE, 2016). This reduces pollution to the air, soil and water because less energy is used in their production. This virtually means that there will be less carb...
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